Falcons’ decision to choose Michael Penix Jr ‘selfish,’ former NFL player says

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The Atlanta Falcons stunned the NFL world on Thursday night when the team selected quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 pick in the NFL Draft just weeks after signing Kirk Cousins to a massive contract.

Former NFL player Ross Tucker, who is also an analyst for CBS, appeared on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Friday and tore into the Falcons for making the pick. He called the pick “selfish” and “disrespectful.”

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Atlanta Falcons first round draft choice quarterback Michael Penix Jr., speaks during a news conference Friday, April 26, 2024, in Flowery Branch, Ga.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“When in doubt, in the NFL, in my experience, look for the decision-makers to make decisions that they believe is in their best interest for their job security, and/or job preservation,” Tucker explained. “And I believe, at some point, the Falcons’ GM, Terry Fontenot, and the head coach, Raheem Morris, were talking, and they realized, ‘Hey, we’re probably gonna be pretty good the next couple years, with Kirk Cousins. The NFC South’s not that great. We will be in the mix, maybe we’ll win the division, be in the playoffs.

“But if we get a guy like Penix now, then, Year 3, maybe Year 4, we have a succession plan in place,’ to the point where Arthur Blank isn’t gonna fire them before Penix has at least one year, maybe even two.”

Tucker added that he believed the Falcons brass “bought themselves a four-year runway” to see what they could do.

Michael Penix Jr shows his jersey

Atlanta Falcons first round draft choice quarterback Michael Penix Jr., holds a Falcons jersey during a news conference Friday, April 26, 2024, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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“I think it’s selfish, and this is coming from a former player’s perspective, I think it’s borderline disrespectful,” he added. “I think it’s one of the worst moves I’ve seen in a long time. . . . I think it’s a selfish move by the GM and head coach, that’s my read on it from a player’s perspective.”

Cousins was reportedly told of the pick when it was happening.

Penix said later Friday he heard from Cousins and Falcons legend Michael Vick after he was selected.

He added he felt comfortable working behind Cousins.

Kirk Cousins speaks to the media

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks during a news conference Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Flowery Branch, Ga. Cousins has one playoff victory in his long career. The Falcons are betting at least $100 million that he’s the guy who can lead them to the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.  (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

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“I know I’m going to put in a ton of work to make sure whenever I do step on that field it’s not going to be a beat missed,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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